ronJune 6, 2023 at 8:33 pm #1122737
Quite complex doesn’t necessarily equal good.
Sometimes you have to depend on other people. A therapist is another person, so is a close friend.
A close friend, or fiance, shouldn’t be responsible for managing your insecurities. Sure, they listen, support and sometimes offer advice. They shouldn’t be your everything. What you’re suggesting is the the LW’s finance be her husband, her best friend, her therapist, and her friend finder. That’s not sustainable for one person to manage.
There is something holding the LW back when she meets new people.
I didn’t say complex = good. I think female friendships, especially with social media, are complex, making them hard to navigate and figure out. She spent years pushing people away. That’s a lot to unpack. This is another reason she shouldn’t depend solely on her fiancé for support. And now she’s supposed to limit contact with her sister too? Very isolating.
There are barriers to mental health treatment, but it seems many people who say they cannot afford therapy have not reached out to a single practitioner to get more information about actual costs. I had no idea sliding scale fees existed until I started trying to find my own therapist. My copay with insurance is about $20 less than what I paid on a sliding scale. So maybe I’m just projecting knowing I had false assumptions about costs at one point, but I do think it’s worth LW’s while to do research.
Even if LW’s fiance takes the lead on their social life as a couple, he won’t be able to control the outcome no matter how many double dates he plans. Finding opportunities to be social doesn’t seem to be LW’s problem; forming and maintaining genuine connections is her problem. And it’s something she’s been actively avoiding/pushing away for 15+ years stemming from deep insecurities that everyone around her is better than her.ronJune 7, 2023 at 9:49 am #1122747
Again, I agree that therapy is her highest priority. She says she can’t get it. If she hasn’t exhausted all avenues, she should keep looking. Everything I read says that therapy and psychological/psychiatric services, free or paid, are swamped post-Covid. She doesn’t say enough about herself, school or employment or even living, situation to asseszs whether it really is totally impossible for her to find free therapy or reduce price therapy she can afford, or really any therapy at all. Some areas, especially rural, are bare of a lot of services that one can find in cities (if one looks very hard). I take her at her word that it is impossible for her, although I understand why you would doubt that.
Meanwhile, her fiance is a big anchor, perhaps her strongest now. If she pushes him away by refusing to plan wedding, because she is ashamed that she doesn’t have friends to invite, I think that makes her situation a lot worse. So, I think a simple marriage service, where few attend, is the best she can do for her self, right now. Yes, it would be ideal if she works on herself with a therapist first, but she can’t.
She doesn’t say a lot about her sister except: she walked off with the friends OP was starting to make through a hobby activity, when sister did a delayed walk into that hobby group. Why did sister do that? Does sister always keep a close eye upon her? Do her parents ask sister to do this? It just seems that sister could have left this hobby niche for OP to own. From what OP writes, she was having success in that endeavor until sister showed up.
Also, extrovert sister seems to be the primary person whom OP is negatively comparing herself to at the present time. OP mentions no way in which sister is a help to her. Actually mentions no way in which family is a help to her. Oversight or part of the problem?
It would be nice if OP updated with more info, but she hasn’t.
Where does it say the sister “walked off” with the friends LW was starting to make? Or that LW was having success pre-sister? She wrote that the new people she’s met will text her sister, but not her. And that pre-sister, she felt like she was coming off too strong in her hobby classes (i.e., not having success). She also writes she hasn’t confided in her family about how she feels about the state of her social life, so why would they think to help her? The extrovert sister is the primary person against whom LW compares herself because it seems like there’s nobody else in LW’s life… her way of managing her insecurities was to push everyone else away.
The wedding stuff is a separate issue, IMO, and yeah, she should talk to her fiance about what’s going on with her (there’s no way he can’t know by now that she has no close friends, he probably thinks she’s content), but I’m with @ktfran that the onus shouldn’t be on her fiance to solve her problems. Nor do I think he could even if it were his job because what actually needs to be done is inner work. Expecting your partner to fill all these different roles in your life seems like something more straight men than women do. I’ve definitely dated men who seemed to need a therapist or cruise director to fill their social calendars, but instead they found a girlfriend.
I absolutely agreed that she should talk to her husband about the wedding. Where we diverge is fully depending on her husband as her therapist and friend finder.
I’m reserved. Nearly all my friends are a lot more outgoing than me. Others flock towards my friends, which only helps me as I slowly open up. I have to actively step outside of my comfort zone to engage. Also, I’m not always great at small talk. It honestly sounds like something similar is happening with the sister. Maybe the LW should talk to her and say she’s struggling if she hasn’t already. If the sister knew, she could potentially help the LW with the people they meet.ronJune 7, 2023 at 11:15 am #1122755
Here it is:
“Another insecurity of mine is that my sibling is way more outgoing than me and I’ve always been a lot more reserved. She recently started attending one of the hobbies I was attending and any potential friends I was making there (we had exchanged numbers and met up outside of the hobby a few times) now seem more interested in my sibling, they will text her and check up on her but not me.” So… they exchanged numbers and had met up outside the hobby group — really good progress for OP… and then sister arrives and it crashes.ronJune 7, 2023 at 11:22 am #1122756
Ktfran — I never said she should fully depend on her fiance. She needs a therapist. I did suggest that fiance seems to be all she’s got at the moment (and I totally agree that isn’t good — but also feel she will be in a far worse place if she loses him) and also that marriage to the fiance may be her route, through his employment benefits (don’t know if he has health benefits) to being her route to get therapy quickly.
I don’t read this at all like the sister ruined things for LW. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the sister for people texting her but not LW. It’s not like they had to choose between LW and her sister, and chose the sister. Maybe they just vibed with the sister better. Maybe the sister sent a “nice to meet you” text that opened the door to friendly/casual texting.
I live in the same city as my sister. We’re both transplants here. We’re a couple years apart. My social life is much more exciting and I’m the quiet/reserved/shy sister! My sister could talk to a brick wall. I literally spent my childhood hiding behind her any time we were around someone new. The reason my social life is more exciting despite our natural inclinations is because I put myself out there in ways she won’t.
ronJune 7, 2023 at 12:10 pm #1122759
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Copa.
We know that sister is adept at attracting friends. Yes, it is probably natural that OP’s brand-nedw proto-friends were attracted to sister, whom (as you suggest) will know exactly how to respond to draw them to her). My issue is simple: knowing that OP is friendless and in the process of creating a friend group out on her own — a big step for OP, which takes real courage given her anxieties, why on Earth would her sister intrude in that new activity. Whether intentional or accidental, this harmed OP. Even in totally normal circumstances, where one sibling isn’t high anxiety and the other an extrovert, I think it is a good thing for siblings to each have at least one activity which is theirs alone and not shared. That’s how a person, especially an anxious introvert successfully establishes their own identity and friend group. My brother is close in age and we did a ton of things together as children and young adults, but we each had our own unique activities. Looking back, I see that as extremely important. I am the introvert of the family.
What you’ve not addressed is why sister would decide to glom onto OP’s activity.
Why do you assume the sister is intruding? I actually assumed LW invited her sister. As an introvert, I often prefer a friendly face around and if I want to do something new but feel nervous, will ask a pal. Or my sister. How would the sister even know which class to sign up for if LW hadn’t mentioned specifics?
As kids, sure, maybe it’s important for siblings to have different activities to individuate, but it seems stupid that two grown-ass sisters couldn’t go to the same ceramics class or whatever without it turning into sibling rivalry.
Not to mention, at best, the sister is acquaintances with these new people. But LW has decided, because she is still ruled by her insecurities, that they perceive her sister as better. That she is lesser. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with her.ronJune 7, 2023 at 2:05 pm #1122761
Yes, she could have invited her sister. As I read the post, I didn’t get that impression, but it’s definitely possible, perhaps even likely.